The Salvation Army in Port Hardy has officially started its annual Christmas Kettle Campaign, but Community Ministries Supervisor Lighthouse Resource Centre’s Michael Winter says they are still desperately in need of more volunteers this year.
“The Salvation Army Community Ministries focuses on social services helping to provide the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, and emergency services,” said Winter, who added this includes “addressing such needs as homelessness, addictions, abuse, food security and advocacy. The purpose of all our programs and services is to meet people ‘where they are at’ without judgment. We offer these programs and services in a warm, friendly and safe environment that helps us to foster relationships that are nurturing and loving.”
The Salvation Army serves the Mount Waddington Region, which encompasses the northern tip of Vancouver Island, roughly a population of 12,000 people.
“This region has its hardships – economic instability, a high rate of poverty per capita, and a high rate of alcoholism,” Winter stated, explaining the Salvation Army has “always helped people who are street entrenched, drug addicted and struggling with mental health barriers. Now though, due to the trying times of the region, we are now transitioning into helping the following groups: low income (or the working poor), the unemployed, young families, senior citizens and youth. These are our neighbors, family members and friends.”
Winter supplied the Gazette with some noteworthy statistics showing the increased demand for services over the last three years:
Meals served in 2013/2014 – 14,848;
Meals served in 2016/2017 – 19,236 (30 per cent increase);
Salvation Army Assistance – Advocacy, Food Bags, Emergency Assistance, Clothing and Spiritual Care in 2013/2014 – 3,655;
Salvation Army Assistance – Advocacy, Food Bags, Emergency Assistance, Clothing and Spiritual Care in 2016/2017 – 5,933 (62 per cent increase);
Shelter Stays in 2013/2014 – 455;
Shelter Stays in 2016/2017 – 873 (92 per cent increase);
Total Services Accessed at the Lighthouse Resource Centre in 2013/2014 – 27,773; and
Total Services Accessed at the Lighthouse Resource Centre in 2016/2017 – 48,834 (76 per cent increase).
“We want to help and we can’t do it without your support,” added Winter. “We are short on Kettle Volunteers this year and we’re in need. Our Christmas Kettles are done once-a-year and is the only means of fund-raising done for The Salvation Army. All money will be invested in our Family and Guest Services for meals, food bags, clothing vouchers, and other basic essentials. 100 per cent of the money raised stays in the community.”
If you would like to be a Salvation Army Kettle Volunteer this year, it runs from Nov. 30 to Dec. 23. The Kettles are stationed at Save-On-Foods and at the Liquor Store on the following days: Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
Sign up for a shift by calling our Port Hardy Kettle Coordinators:
Lighthouse Resource Centre (Day time hours): 250-949-8125
Darlene O’Neil (Night time hours): 250-230-7940
The Salvation Army will be having a Kettle for the first time in Port McNeill at the IGA – Please call their Port McNeill Kettle Coordinator Rick Restell: 250-230-4662.
Below is a link to donate on-line directly to the Mt. Waddington Ministry:
click: Port Hardy Online Kettle.
“In helping with this year’s Kettle drive, we give thanks to our partners at the North Island Gazette, Save-On-Foods, Port Hardy Liquor Store, Port McNeill Marketplace IGA, Rotary Club and all of our volunteers and supporters,” said Winter, adding he wants to say thank you to everyone who is “helping to make this Christmas Season a special one – for those who are in need and facing life’s challenges – we want to let them know that they are not alone.”